Victoria and Abdul

Sep 05, 17 Victoria and Abdul


In Cinemas SEPTEMBER 14


The extraordinary true story of an unexpected friendship in the later years of Queen Victoria’s (Academy Award winner Judi Dench) remarkable rule. When Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), a young clerk, travels from India to participate in the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, he is surprised to find favour with the Queen herself. As the Queen questions the constrictions of her long-held position, the two forge an unlikely and devoted alliance with a loyalty to one another that her household and inner circle all attempt to destroy. As the friendship deepens, the Queen begins to see a changing world through new eyes and joyfully reclaims her humanity.

Thanks to Universal Pictures Australia



We’ve been here before – in John Madden’s 1997 “Mrs Brown” – admirers of Dame Judi Dench will rush to see how, twenty years later, she builds on the same role of Queen Victoria, in what could almost be the sequel to Mrs Brown, in Victoria & Abdul. The film is a lavish and more of a comic affair, which is a bit different from what we expect from Stephen Frears after his almost chillingly cold  rendition in “The Queen”.

We’re in similar thematic terrain to Mrs Brown in this dramedy about the relationship between the elderly monarch and a young Indian Muslim who became her trusted and adored companion.  “Victoria & Abdul” is a movie that flirts with exploring prejudice, cultural tension, power, and religion, but never really completes the ideas. At best, it tries to humorously dismantle the absurdity of empires and royalty, but that’s about as subversive as it gets. There’s certainly an aspect to Abdul that’s incredibly grovelling (and underwritten for that matter), and his friend Mohammed even curses him out at as an Uncle Tom. Much like Abdul, the amiable “Victoria & Abdul” is eager to please, but perhaps isn’t quite as flattering to the audience as one might imagine. The mix of splendour, wry chuckles and the odd tear – together with Dench’s typically rich, mischievous performance – make for imperial status at the box-office, particularly with older viewers. Just don’t expect cutting-edge historical revisionism from this production.



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